I just finished hosting the first edition of Serendib Quiz, a new live quizzing event in Sri Lanka.
Here’s a short promo text we produced just after the event:
A team of private individuals, called the ‘Invictus Team’, emerged overall winners at the inaugural Serendib Quiz held at the Galadari Hotel, Colombo, on 29 July 2012.
Invictus beat 40 other teams from all over Sri Lanka to win the top prize of Rs. 100,000 and the specially designed Serendib Quiz glass trophy.
Two other individual teams – Chamara Sumanapala’s Team and Imran Furkan’s Team – secured second and third places respectively.
A total of 205 players, in 41 teams, took part in this live quizzing event compiled and hosted by Nalaka Gunawardene, a leading quizzing professional. Participants’ ages ranged from 13 to 65 years. Many teams came from schools, banks and private companies while a number of quiz enthusiasts competed as private teams.
The team representing Dharmaraja College, Kandy, was the winner in the educational category, followed by Ananda College and the Royal College A Team. All members of these teams received British Council Library gold memberships, in addition to book vouchers and books.
Srilankan Airlines came first in the corporate category, while Seylan Bank was the winner in among banks and financial institutions.
Serendib Quiz was organised by Quiz World (Pvt) Limited and sponsored by Commercial Credit PLC in partnership with Sarasavi Bookshop (Pvt) Limited, Fast Ads (Pvt) Limited, the British Council, BT Options, TVE Asia Pacific and Kent Holdings.
Serendib Quiz involved 50 questions from all areas of knowledge, local and global, presented in five rounds. Contestants worked simultaneously in teams to write out answers that were immediately marked by a three-member judging panel.
Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 29 July 2012
By the time you read this, London Olympics 2012 would have started with an opening ceremony showcasing the best of Britain. Themed as ‘Isles of Wonder’, it was put together under the overall direction of Oscar award winning British filmmaker Danny Boyle (who directed Slumdog Millionaire).
Four years ago, the Chinese film director, producer and writer Zhang Yimou was in charge of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics.
Such mixing of sports and show biz is an indicator of how much is at stake. Every host city tries to outdo previous ones in staging an event that combines sportsmanship, performing arts and visual wizardry.
Those spectators who pay top-Dollar (or Pound) prices for stadium tickets are only a small part of the intended audience. Thanks to the vast outreach…
Buckminster Fuller, the visionary American engineer and designer who used challenge his audiences saying: “There’s no energy shortage; there’s no energy crisis; there’s a crisis of ignorance.”
In this episode of Malima (New Directions in Innovation), a Sinhala language TV series on science, technology and innovation, we feature a wide-ranging interview on how innovation can find solutions to the energy crisis.
Produced by Suminda Thilakasena and hosted by science writer Nalaka Gunawardene, this show interviews two Lankan specialists:
• Dr Ajith de Alwis, Professor of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka
• Engineer Asoka Abeygunawardana, Adviser to the Minister of Power and Energy and Executive Director, Energy Forum, Sri Lanka
The interview opens with an overview of Sri Lanka’s energy generation and use, and then looks at the current role and future potential of renewable energy sources – ranging from biomass and hydro electricity to wind, solar, biogas and dendro power. In particular, we look at what Lankan inventors can do to make renewable energies cheaper, safer and more user-friendly.
Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 22 July 2012
This week, London welcomes the world’s Olympians once again as it becomes the first city to host the modern Olympics thrice.
Even for a global city like London, with well developed infrastructure, coping with the influx is quite a logistical challenge. So its city authorities have been urging more people to avoid coming to town. In fact, Transport for London has been running a campaign to get a third of commuters to work from home during the Games.
In this week’s Sunday column in Ravaya (22 July 2012, in Sinhala), I discuss the far-reaching public health implications of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recent assessment that diesel engine fumes do certainly cause cancer, especially lung cancer, in humans.
Quizzing is a well established hobby as well as a mind sport around the world. Participants engage in a friendly tussle using quick wits and sharp memories.
Also known as general knowledge competitions, quizzing has been a popular programme type on Lankan radio and TV for several decades. Recently, reality quiz shows on TV have renewed interest in this activity.
Now, a group of quiz enthusiasts have launched named Serendib Quiz, a live quizzing event to nurture a serious quizzing culture in Sri Lanka.
The first Serendib Quiz will be held on Sunday, 29 July 2012 at 2.00 pm at Galadari Hotel, Colombo 1.
The quiz, in English, will involve 50 questions from all areas of knowledge, both local and global. It will be compiled and conducted by Nalaka Gunawardene, one of the most versatile quizzing professionals in Sri Lanka who has over 30 years of experience as a quiz kid turned quizmaster.
Participation in this team event is open to all educational institutions (schools, universities, training institutes), public and private establishments, banks and other financial institutions, as well as groups of private individuals.
In this Sunday (15 July 2012) Ravaya column (in Sinhala), I briefly trace the history of comics in Sri Lanka in the Sinhala language and ask: what lessons can we derive from that experience on integrating a new media type or form to Lankan society?
Comics in Lankan newspapers started 60 years ago in October 1951 — and a vocal minority of cynics and puritans resisted it from the beginning. I argue that this misplaced resistance prevented Lankan media houses and society at large from harnessing this versatile medium for greater good – in both entertainment and educational terms.
Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 15 July 2012
My column last week – about World Health Organisation confirming diesel fumes cause lung causer – elicited many responses. Some cautioned that phasing out high sulphur diesel from Lankan roads isn’t going to be easy.
The automobile industry has much at stake and would want to continue business as usual. Policy, legal and regulatory changes take time, and will require evidence-based arguments and sustained pressure. Health campaigners and environmentalists have their work cut out for them.
They must stay focused on vehicle emissions. Yes, some power plants are also prolific users of diesel, but they have smoke stacks and their emissions can be centrally treated. In contrast, millions of diesel-burning vehicles are a distributed — and mobile — source that emits fumes right in our faces.
Malima (New Directions in Innovation) is a Sinhala language TV series on science, technology and innovation. This episode was produced and first broadcast by Sri Lanka’s Rupavahini TV channel on 24 May 2012.
Produced by Suminda Thilakasena and hosted by science writer Nalaka Gunawardene, this episode features three stories:
• An interview with Asanka Jayamal Rajakaruna, who has developed a concept for a more realistic TV screen. Named Multiplex Optical Macrocosm for Parallax Replicated Observation, and abbreviated as MOMPRO, it has been demonstrated at prototype level. The inventor is now looking for an investor to commercialise this idea which he says can revolutionise TV and video industries.
• There are less than 700 mountain gorillas left in the wild, most of them in the in the area surrounding the Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo. These endangered Mountain Gorillas population are getting a helping hand from a fuel-efficient ‘Jiko’ stove. Partnering with local group AIDE-Kivu, the UK charity Gorilla Organization launched the fuel-efficient stove in 2008, reducing the consumption of firewood and charcoal by at least 75 per cent – reducing pressure on the forest.
• An interview with young inventor Gayathra Amodh Dharmaratna, a student of Ananda College, Colombo. He has invented an air pressure-operated painting device which ‘extends’ the reach of a painter up to 10 m or 35 ft. It can be used to uniformly paint 100 square feet in 20 minutes, and saves paint, time and effort. Having already won a junior inventor award for this, he has now applied for a Lankan patent.
I’ve been writing op-ed essays in newspapers for a decade, and features for a quarter century in mainstream, broadsheet newspapers. Do they make a difference? I often ask that myself. There are no easy ways to measure the influence or impact of what we write — except when a reader tells me how a particular piece changed his/her mind. It’s always good to have such feedback, but most people don’t reach out even when they like what they read.
In this week’s Ravaya column (in Sinhala), I ask the big question: can an op-ed article in a newspaper make a difference? I cite four specific instances where they did — leading to the founding of WWF, Amnesty International, Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society and the Suriya Mal Movement in Sri Lanka that was a peaceful defiance of British rule in early 20th century Ceylon.